Thursday, March 17, 2016

Quotation from J. K. Rowling - From Her Book (Harvard Commencement Speech) VERY GOOD LIVES

Ryan Petty

There’s been a spate of commencement addresses, repackaged and sold as hardcover gift books. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

The best of them are inspiring, as they should be. Certainly, this includes VERY GOOD LIVES: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination (Little, Brown and Company, 2015).

There are two things I got out of reading this repackaged speech: 

The biographical detail that, prior to writing HARRY POTTER, J. K. Rowling worked for Amnesty International at its London headquarters; and

The quotation you will find below.

Though the conceit that failure is a mile-marker on the road to success has become shopworn, it may have been less so in 2008, when J. K. Rowling stood before the assembled graduates of Harvard and said what she came to say.

In any event, it’s J. K. Rowling we’re talking about and she handles her subject as ably as you would expect - particularly the part about the importance of the imagination.

Which is where I found my favorite quote:

“Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.”

J. K. Rowling has demonstrated her capacity to do this. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Thus Sayeth George Orwell, Part 1

Ryan Petty

George Orwell’s posthumous collection of essays, WHY I WRITE, is a marvel, published by Penguin Books in its Great Ideas series. 

Here’s a passage I marked from the title essay, along with others for return reading:

“It is easier - even quicker, once you have the habit - to say In my opinion it is a not unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don’t have to hunt about for words; you also don’t have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences, since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry - when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech - it is natural to fall into a pretentious, latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself.”

-George Orwell

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Amazon Giveaway of My New eBook - 3 copies

Ryan Petty

WHICH BOOK TO WRITE NEXT is included in the Amazon Giveaway program to the tune of 3 copies. 

More information here. 

(It only takes a couple of clicks to win.)

WHICH BOOK TO WRITE NEXT - The Recurrent Decision that Makes or Breaks You in the Author Business (Book Announcement)

Ryan Petty

Happy to share the news that my new book (first mentioned in a 2/26 blog post on “Writing Two Books at a Time") is now available on Amazon.

Here’s the ebook cover:

More information about this title is available in a blog post published here

Or start reading the FREE e-Book sample by clicking the cover in the right hand column.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Writing Two Books at a Time - Part Two

Ryan Petty

Since my February 26 blog post began this series, I’ve finished one of my two projects. 

The book on the subject of “how to decide (among the many possibilities) which book to write next” is now in production and should be available as a Kindle eBook from Amazon by the end of this week.

But writers write... and I’m already back to writing two books at a time.

I continue to work on the memoir project AND I’m writing a children’s picture book. 

The thing to know about the children’s picture book is that it’s intended to be the first in a series. I’ve written synopses for the first several titles and continue to refine them, even as I’m writing the first manuscript.

In a sense then, you could say I’m working on more than two books simultaneously. The real number is somewhere between 5 and 8 (depending on what you count).

But this isn’t extraordinary in my judgment - not at all.

As I indicated in the first blog post on this subject, I believe the Hundred Acre Wood is full of authors writing more than one book at a time.


How about you: What two (or more) book projects are you currently writing?

Are you writing them in sequence (with each at a different stage)? Or in parallel?

Are they in the same genre? Or does one draw on another part of your brain or another source of energy?